Friday, December 2, 2011

Using Metallic Floss

Metallic thread is a must for holiday stitching. It's a fun way to make your needlework sparkle.

If you haven't used metallics before, now is a great time to start. Don't be nervous; it takes a little practice and patience, but if you follow my guidelines, you'll find it's a lot easier than you think.

1) Keep the thread length short--about 12 inches.
2) Use a size 24 needle. Smaller needles can cause extensive fraying.
3) Condition the thread with Thread Heaven or beeswax.
4) If using two strands, thread the needle with a single thread folded in half. Make a slipknot at the head of the needle. If using a single thread, keep the tail short.
45 The needle will cut at the thread and cause it to fray. To reduce that effect, as soon as you have the needle through the fabric, let go of the needle and pull the thread through. Not only does it put less tension on the thread, it also keeps the thread from twisting.
6) Try to keep the thread from rubbing too much against the fabric. Friction against the fabric will weaken the thread and start fraying. Pull straight through the hole.
7) Good tension is essential. I recommend a laying tool or trolley needle to help make the threads lie flat so they can reflect the most light. Pulling too tight can cause kinks (especially in DMC Light Effects) and will kill the sparkle, too.

My favorite metallics for blackwork are Kreinik braid and blending filaments. DMC Light Effects is nice for cross stitch. 

Give it a try and see what magic you can create with metallic thread!